Girl in a Pink Hat (Graphite Sketch)
It’s an ambition of mine to sketch and paint portraits… and to do it well enough to capture a good likeness so they’re recognisable. It’s strange though – I can never bring myself to actually do them. I don’t know why, but I seem to always find an excuse to do something else like another animal or flower.
This is starting to come more to my attention though, both the urge to do it and the recognition that I’m avoiding it, so hopefully that’s the first stage in overcoming it 🙂 … and I just have to face the fact that it’s going to be a bit painful for a while, until I’ve practised a lot more.
So today I chose a picture from the huge selection on PaintmyPhoto titled Pink Hat 2 by Rachael Curry. She’s a very pretty girl in an interesting pose but not someone I know, which I believe helps when you’re a beginner – you don’t get lulled into thinking you know how their features fit together.
It was great fun and mostly went OK, although it doesn’t completely look like her. I think I made the common mistake of making her nose too long and the space above her top lip – the philtrum? – is too long as well. So her face looks a bit squished!
Best Dress & Party Balloons (Watercolour)
I think I’m on a roll! I’ve managed to paint almost every day this week and it feels wonderful 🙂
Yesterday I only had half an hour free so I played around with the background a bit more and smoothed out some of the more noticeable brush strokes, but today has been much more leisurely. I spent some time on the balloons and I’ve also been trying to pick out the folds in the fabric, which is a very shear gauze on with the satin petticoat showing through from underneath. It’s worked much better than I hoped so now I have to come up with a plan for the bodice – which is complicated crochet in a shiny thread!
As usual with figures and portraits I’m studiously avoiding the hair and face, so I’ll probably tackle the arms next, and maybe shoes… and then the hair will have to be attempted. As the face is slightly turned away and fairly small I’m hoping I can get away without doing anything much, especially once the hair goes in and frames it. At the moment that big expanse of pale paper is very noticeable.
This is lots of fun!
Scent of a Rose (Graphite)
I was chatting with my very good friend and artist, Moira, today about visiting the Archibald Prize Exhibition and it set me thinking – by the way, the Archibald is a well known prize for portraits of famous or talented people (‘distinguished in art, letters, science or politics’) held annually in Sydney.
Now, I would love to be able to paint portraits… recognisable, emotional, artistic portraits, actually I’ll settle for recognisable as a start… and I’m really looking forward to visiting the exhibition to see how the professionals do it. That being the case, and in view of my aim to practise often and follow my passion, my thoughts focused on wondering why I never (or rarely) try a portrait? How can I be so fascinated by them and yet constantly shy away from practising them so I might improve? Beats me!
So tonight when I got home from Wollongong (gallery sitting) I searched out a photo from you know where (paintmyphoto) and spent an hour doing just that. I used a harder graphite than I normally would (2B) which gave me much greater control and allowed me to get lighter shading. Apart from slightly misaligned eyes and the bit where I lost patience towards the end with her hand I’m very pleased with it 🙂 .
This afternoon I visited a friend that I haven’t seen for a few years, we sort of lost touch after we stopped working together. It was lovely to catch up, great how sometimes the years between disappear like they didn’t happen… and I met her gorgeous new daughter, Sophia, who’s just over a year old now.
What a live wire, she didn’t stop for the four hours I was there and she had us laughing so much – she knew it too, she obviously loves being centre stage 🙂
So this evening I’m shattered… nevertheless there was practising still to be done so I decided to try and capture her on paper. It’s not a perfect likeness, but she looks mostly human which is always satisfying :-P. I think her Mum will recognise her from the sketch too.
Young Megan (Graphite)
I’m conscious that having finished work I haven’t picked up a pencil for a week. After I stopped, way back in my twenties, it took me a very long time to get comfortable with drawing again, so I’m determined not to get out of practice again.
This has taken about an hour and a a half to complete, mainly because I struggled to fit her eyes and nose into the ‘easy bits’ of the hat and outline of her face. I don’t know why those bits are so hard when I can draw the greater outlines of neck, cheeks, head/hair/hat with relative ease. Then I have a blank space in the middle that has to be just right – when I first put them in she looked about 5 years older. I believe that ageing your subject is a great skill to have in some professions :-P. A bit more touching up, erasing, tickling (wishing I had an undo button!) and I arrived here.
If you’re a member on Paint my Photo you an see the original here. Thanks to Lorna Winch for sharing this gorgeous photo of her Granddaughter 🙂